You’ve got a blog on your website or you’re thinking of having one.
You’re just not sure how long they should be.
Does the length matter?
As you might have guessed, it’s not a hard science.
There are a number of factors at play but despite that there are still some pretty straightforward guidelines. Here are some figures to start us of:
To improve your ranking on Google, get people to stay on your website and provide useful content to your audience, blog posts should be in the region of 1,200 – 1,600 words. This is the best blog post length for most audiences.
Blog posts should be at least 300 words in order to avoid being considered ‘thin content’ by Google. *
* Thin content is deemed too short to be of significant value and is therefore unlikely to rank.
For peak performance, articles of approx. 2,250 words are more likely to rank highly on Google as they will be seen as useful sources of information. These are hard to do though.
I go into more detail about each of these things below.
I also point out a few alternative strategies.
Now, I’m no data researcher, so all figures have been taken from information freely available on the web.
This infographic from CoSchedule was particularly helpful and is definitely worth checking out.
Why blog posts?
Before we go on…
You do know why having blog posts is good, right?
‘Urm to be honest no…’ ‘I thought they were just for updating people about my travels around Europe.’
Ah, ok. Well here’s a little recap: (skip if you already know why blogs rock)
Google is the gatekeeper of the business world. You want to rank highly on Google.
The process of doing this is called SEO.
One big way to improve your Search Engine Optimisation is by updating your website with content relevant to your organisation/target audience.
This shows that your website is active and you’re providing information which proves that you are the place to go, locally, nationally or even internationally, for the thing which you sell.
This content in turn will hopefully funnel people to your website, either via Google – although this is harder to achieve – or more commonly via social media.
By attracting visitors, you’re getting your brand/service/product in front of their eyes but hopefully it will also increase their trust in your product or service.
Not only this but all this traffic that you’re now getting is also really helpful for your SEO. If a website is busy then it must be worth visiting, right? (not always true but Google has become increasingly reliable at this over the last few years)
So, there you go. If you didn’t know before why blogs are important for your marketing, hopefully you do now!
Bigger is better
The reality is, many of the benefits listed above can only be achieved on certain conditions.
For written content to be truly effective, Google needs to see it as something which provides a substantial amount of information. A lengthier post will generally indicate that the text within is worth reading. An argument has been formed or a story has been told.
But it’s not just about Google. Readers want fully formed arguments. They want information which has been properly researched, has depth to it and is going to teach them something new.
When people open a blog post I don’t think the foremost thing on their mind is; ‘I hope I can close this again soon.’ I think it’s more likely; ‘I hope I can learn something here.’
The idea that people don’t read stuff anymore is twaddle. If something’s worth reading then people will read on.
Sure, they might not get all the way through and according to Hubspot, 43% of readers admitted to skimming posts but they will happily look for the answers they need if they’re there.
It’s also the people who do read on who become leads. The reason they become leads is because they’ve been convinced that you’re the right person for the job.
Long form blog posts generate 9x more leads than short ones because they’ve provided substantial evidence to your claims.
To stand a chance of ranking on Google, a good blog post should aim to be no less than 1,200 words.
But we do live in a noisy world. There’s a lot of information out there and people’s time is limited. The average blog does need to be digested fairly quickly.
The ideal length is probably in the region of 1,200-1,600 words with Buffer suggesting the latter figure as a good guideline. The infographic at the top includes some of these stats.
A marketing agency actually did some proper maths (not my forte I’m afraid) and got an ideal length of 1,705 words, based on engagement with their own blog. You can check out their workings here.
Now if it’s organic reach you’re looking for, you need a blog post in the region of 2,200 – 2,500 words.
Something of this length is considerably more likely to include useful in-depth content. It’s pretty hard to keyword-stuff or waffle on about nothing in an article of this length and you certainly won’t get people sticking around.
So, it’s much more likely to rank higher on Google and therefore more likely to be found by people eager for an answer to the question/s that you have attempted to answer. That is, if you have truly attempted to answer it.
Blog posts of this length need to be structured well and have engaging language or otherwise no one will read it. 2,500 words of drivel isn’t going to get you very far.